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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – California’s biggest bicycle race is flip-flopping this year. For the first time the Amgen Tour of California will travel from south to north, but it will once again skip the Capitol City.
The rush and the excitement of the Amgen race has a history of putting the international spotlight on Sacramento and the greater Central Valley.
“It draws a ton of people out here and the streets are just packed,” said Eric Navarro with City Bicycle Works in Sacramento.
But the May race won’t hit up any of our towns this year, including Folsom, which put in a bid.
“Folsom is a great cycling town,” said Robert Goss, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. “We were excited to submit. We had great support from the City Council, from the Chamber of Commerce, from the tourism bureau, three great bike shops, local cycling clubs.”
It means local restaurants, hotels and businesses like City Bicycle Works won’t be pedaling in the extra dollars.
“It’s definitely a disappointment, not to just this bike shop but all bike shops in Sacramento,” Navarro said.
This year’s race runs through the high desert and mostly right along the coast of California, which makes for spectacular pictures for Amgen, the sponsor of the race.
It hasn’t always been smooth ride in Northern California. There was snow in South Lake Tahoe a few years ago, forcing a delay to the start of the race. Thieves also stole Lance Armstrong’s one-of-a kind bike in Sacramento. It was later returned.
“To think that weather in Lake Tahoe would affect our decision would be completely wrong and to think that because one or two guys who stole Lance Armstrong’s bike had an affect on our decision would be totally wrong,” said Michael Roth, vice president of communications for Amgen.
Amgen officials say the decision is partly based on exposing new cities to the race, but local amateur cyclists hope the event will be racing back to Sacramento sooner rather than later.
“I’m sure they are going to want to come back,” said Jeff Dzurinko at City Bicycle Works. “They are going to realize what they are missing out on by not being here.”
The Amgen, which is considered the most prestigious professional road race in America, is scheduled for May 12-19. The race will travel through 12 host cities beginning in Escondido and ending in Santa Rosa.
The 12 host city partners for the 2013 Amgen Tour of California are:
• Stage 1: Sunday, May 12 – Escondido
• Stage 2: Monday, May 13 – Murrieta to Greater Palm Springs
• Stage 3: Tuesday, May 14 – Palmdale to Santa Clarita
• Stage 4: Wednesday, May 15 – Santa Clarita to Santa Barbara
• Stage 5: Thursday, May 16 – Santa Barbara to Avila Beach
• Stage 6: Friday, May 17 – San Jose (Individual Time Trial)
• Stage 7: Saturday, May 18 – Livermore to Mt. Diablo
• Stage 8: Sunday, May 19 – San Francisco to Santa Rosa